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ED345 Methods, Materials, and Reading Strategies for Health Education

Lateral Reading

There are many surface level red flags you might be familiar with when it comes to evaluating websites. Are there a lot of ads? Does the page cite sources? While these are good questions to ask, people/organizations are becoming better at deceiving internet users by ensuring they are not raising any of our red flags. Luckily, there is another way to combat this - lateral reading

Lateral reading is digging deeper into the source before you ever review the source.

Step 1: Identify the source you might want to use.

Step 2: Open a new tab and search for the name of the source you want to use.

Step 3: What does Wikipedia say about your source? Are there individuals connected to your source? Who is backing your source? 

Step 4: Open another tab and search the organization again. What are other sites saying? *If you're looking into a news story, this would be a good time to use a fact checking tool.

Lateral reading teaches you to look outside of the website to see if the source is credible.


There are many tools that can be used for lateral reading outside of a general search engine and one of the most beneficial tools for you is Wikipedia.


Wikipedia can be a great place to start your research. Wikipedia can help you find other terms, important individuals/events, and other sources related to your research topic. When you search your topic, read the Wikipedia entry. You can find other key terms you can use when you continue your research. You can also find links to other important sources, such as statistics, on your topic. Wikipedia is not necessarily what you should use as a source, but you can use it as a tool to gain basic knowledge on a topic and link to other important sources. You can utilize Wikipedia in the lateral reading process to gain more information on an individual source.